Arrow has always been presented as the hero's journey of Oliver Queen as shown over a period of five years. The show has had enough success that there's no reason to believe that it will come to an end after those five years, but the upcoming end of that half decade means that Season 5 should be an exciting time for Oliver and Co. The flashbacks will have run their course, Oliver will have presumably come full circle from where he began, and we'll find out just where he got all that hair from the opening scene of the pilot.
As of right now, however, Oliver still has a ways to go before he finishes his flashbacks and reaches the end of his journey toward becoming a full-fledged hero. He'll definitely have a lot to do before he's ready for his big five-year finale. So, here is a look at what we know so far about Arrow Season 5.
Is Arrow Renewed?
Arrow fans can rest easy. The big question of whether or not Oliver would get the chance to finish out the fifth year of his journey has already been answered. The show has indeed already been renewed for a Season 5. Ratings for Arrow have always been solid for a CW series, and the numbers have remained impressively consistent over the past couple of seasons.
All three of the shows that currently make up The CW's DC universe have gotten the renewal order. The Flash will be back for a Season 3, and Legends of Tomorrow will be back for a Season 2. Now that Supergirl is joining The CW as well, there should be plenty of superheroes on The CW for the 2016 - 2017 TV season.
When Will Arrow Season 5 Premiere?
Season 5 of Arrow will premiere on Wednesday, October 5 at 8 p.m. ET. The Season 4 finale did not end on a cliffhanger, so we should count on Season 5 to pick up in real time in the same manner as previous seasons. The Flash premieres its third season on October 4, but we shouldn't expect the timelines to meet up thanks to Barry Allen's time travel mischief at the end of The Flash Season 2. Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow don't return to the airwaves until the next week, so Arrow should be standing on its own for the Season 5 premiere.
How Many Episodes Will Arrow Season 5 Have?
An awful lot needs to happen in Season 5 of Arrow if the five year plan is to come full circle, so hopefully the show will get a respectable order of episodes. The CW hasn't confirmed an episode count yet, but Seasons 1 - 4 all received orders of twenty-three episodes. Assuming that The CW continues this trend, Oliver and Co. should get twenty-three hours of adventure in Season 5 of Arrow.
What Have We Seen From Arrow Season 5?
Star Stephen Amell released a picture from the Arrow set to celebrate the first day of shooting that showed a buff and bloody flashback Oliver getting ready to fight his way into the ranks of the Bratva. The first trailer for Season 5 was released at San Diego Comic-Con, and it revealed that Oliver is going to be assembling a new Team Arrow after the previous Team Arrow fell apart in the Season 4 finale. Felicity is going to be much more gung-ho about new recruits than Oliver. Judging by how easily Oliver takes down Curtis Holt, former fake Black Canary Evelyn Sharp, and Wild Dog Renee Ramirez, the recruits have a ways to go before they're ready to hit the streets. Still, given that Laurel's last words were evidently dedicated to telling Oliver not to do things alone, we can bet that Team Arrow 2.0 will be sticking around. The trailer also gave a closer look at the early stages of Oliver's time in the Bratva. His initiation into the Russian mob seems to occur via shirtless fight club, which should be fun to watch.
Who Is Involved With Arrow Season 5?
Season 4 saw writer Wendy Mericle promoted to share the showrunner position with Marc Guggenheim, and the two will continue teaming up for Season 5. Mericle's increased involvement seems to have resulted in more character focus and relationship development, both of which have helped to raise the stakes for the crazy plot twists that Guggenheim has been known to favor.
Otherwise, there aren't too many folks confirmed to join the team behind-the-scenes for Arrow Season 5, although Kevin Smith has expressed interest in writing for the show in the future. Stunt coordinator James Bamford directed two episodes of Season 4, and he's been given the reins for the first two episodes of Season 5.
What Characters Will Be Back?
Arrow killed off a member of Team Arrow in Season 4 with the death of Laurel Lance, but the other members survived to the end of the finale. The members of Team Arrow have mostly gone their separate ways for hiatus, so it may take the show a little bit of time to bring everybody back together again. We'll see much more of Curtis Holt now that Echo Kellum has been signed as a series regular to fill the role of Arrow's resident gadget genius in Season 5. Colton Haynes has confirmed that he'll be back as Roy for a few episodes of Season 5, and executive producer Wendy Mericle has hinted that Felicity's dad will return as well. Evelyn Sharp will make a reappearance, although she'll have ditched the Black Canary duds in order to take on the new identity of archer Artemis. A mystery character that hasn't been seen since Season 2 will reprise his or her role in the Season 5 premiere. Laurel is dead in the current timeline, but actress Katie Cassidy has signed on to appear on the other shows in The CW's DC universe in addition to Arrow. There will undoubtedly be some time travel, alternate universes, and/or supernatural shenanigans involved to get Cassidy onto The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
Where Did We Leave Off?
Season 4 featured some big changes for Arrow. On the original Team Arrow front, Oliver ran for mayor, Felicity took control of Palmer Tech, and Diggle got a helmet and secret identity. Thea overcame her Lazarus Pit-induced blood lust, and Laurel was sent off to that great vigilante bunker in the sky. In the wake of Laurel's death, however, Diggle chose to re-enlist with the military and Thea decided that she needed some time away from Team Arrow. Oliver ended up becoming mayor by default after Ruve Darhk's death. Felicity elected not to leave Oliver or Star City behind, but she also didn't indicate to Oliver that she was looking to use the summer to rekindle their relationship. Damien Darhk is dead and the forces of H.I.V.E. have dispersed, so Oliver may actually have time to discover whether or not he has what it takes to be a good mayor.
Oliver spent the first half of Season 4 working to give the folks of Star City a beacon of hope by running for mayor, and he actually did a pretty decent job of balancing his nighttime activities as the Green Arrow with his daytime work as Oliver Queen. Although he had to drop out of the race when Damien Darhk used his secret Central City kid as leverage, the death of Ruve Darhk coupled with write-in ballots landed Oliver the job as interim mayor. He'll likely spend more of the summer months trying to save his city as Oliver Queen rather than as the Green Arrow. Oliver may not even need his new Arrow suit until the action really gets back into swing for what's left of Team Arrow. Unfortunately, Stephen Amell has revealed that Oliver isn't actually very good at being mayor.
When he wasn't running for mayor or hitting the streets as the Green Arrow in Season 4, Oliver spent a fair amount of time mooning over Felicity, and we can assume he won't fall out of love with her over hiatus. An Olicity reunion may be in the cards at some point, but Felicity's new boyfriend will likely be an obstacle. Oliver sent his son away --to Fiji, perhaps? -- for his safety, so hopefully William won't be around to complicate things.
Past Oliver returned to Lian Yu for a haircut and some bizarre adventures with an ambiguously accented woman in a series of flashbacks that even the showrunner admitted were not particularly interesting. They did work to set up the plot for Oliver heading to the Bratva in Season 5, so the adventures of Oliver and Taiana did have a greater point.
Felicity had a rough time in Season 4. She was shot shortly after getting engaged, paralyzed from the waist down, reunited with a father who wanted to exploit her resources, informed by a supervillain that her fiancé had a secret kid in Central City, had to break her own heart to leave Oliver, went through physical therapy all by herself, then had to quit Team Arrow for the sake of her own emotional health. She re-joined in time to save the world, but in doing so, she diverted a nuclear bomb to blow up a small town full of innocents in place of a huge city. Although she was the only member of Team Arrow who felt able to stay behind with Oliver in the Season 4 finale, Felicity will be haunted by the Havenrock disaster into Season 5. She'll have more to do than pep-talk Oliver about his new crew and spend time with the new boyfriend.
Digg was given the full superhero treatment in Season 4 when he was finally given a mask and code name for going out in the field. He had some issues when it came to his brothers, both Green and biological. Diggle took his time figuring out how to forgive Oliver for his Season 3 scheming that involved Lyla being kidnapped in front of their daughter, and he originally didn't even want Oliver back on the team. Then, after he came to terms with Oliver, his presumed dead brother Andy showed up very much alive. His loyalty to Andy proved problematic as Andy ultimately betrayed Team Arrow to Damien Darhk in a twist that cost Laurel her life. Digg ultimately killed Andy for threatening his family, but the guilt combined with Laurel's death was too much for Digg to endure without a big change. As of the Season 4 finale, Diggle re-enlisted in the military and left his life in Star City behind. He's currently with Special Forces in Chechnya and dealing with the deaths of both Andy and Laurel in his own way. We may have to wait a while before he makes it back full time, but actor David Ramsey promises that Digg will get more action once he's back on the streets.
Thea spent much of Season 4 dealing with the repercussions of her dip in the Lazarus Pit. The Pit may have saved her life, but it left her with a bloodlust that caused her to question her place in life as both the sister of Oliver Queen and the biological daughter of Malcolm Merlyn. She even almost let a soulless Sara kill her because of the lingering guilt of what she did under Malcolm's control. Thea also proved unable to stay with Team Arrow after the darkness and death of Season 4. Still, she hasn't left her brother to his own devices. In fact, after Oliver turns out to be a terrible mayor, Thea will take on many of the mayoral duties herself. From the looks of the trailer, she'll take some convincing before she re-joins Team Arrow.
Malcolm Merlyn started out Season 4 as a dubious ally to Team Arrow as the new Ra's al Ghul. His attachment to Thea motivated him to help out the good guys in some very big ways. Unfortunately, he didn't react well to Oliver chopping off his arm, deposing him as Ra's, and allowing Nyssa al Ghul to disband the League of Assassins. In response, Malcolm turned on Oliver and joined Damien Darhk by sharing the secret of Oliver's kid in Central City. Thea denounced him, and Malcolm returned to unambiguous bad guy status...until he switched sides again, because of course he did. Malcolm betrayed H.I.V.E. when it became clear that Darhk's plan would result in worldwide destruction that included himself, and he played a part in helping Team Arrow save the day. He's still alive and will undoubtedly come back with more trouble for Oliver and Co. in Season 5. In fact, Malcolm will be branching out his evildoing and spending some time on the other series in The CW's DC universe.
Have Any New Characters Been Announced?
There sure have! Hiatus has been somewhat quiet on plot details for Season 5 of Arrow, but plenty of new characters have been announced, and a couple of them will be vigilantes. Rick Gonzalez in on board to play the reckless and murderous new crimefighter Wild Dog that Oliver will take under his wing in Season 5. A new fighter played by Josh Segarra will go by the vigilante name Vigilante - yes, really - and split his time between working as District Attorney during the day and donning a mask to hit the streets at night. Chad L. Coleman of The Walking Dead fame will tackle the role of gangster Tobias Church, who has been based on the Wire character Stringer Bell. A new recurring character called Derek Zaba will be a witty and intelligent man whose inner demons give him the potential to be an ally or a threat to anybody he meets. Felicity will also be getting a new boyfriend who may or may not vex Oliver by his mere existence. Cody Rhodes of WWE is set to appear as a mystery character who will get in Oliver's way.
What's Next For The Flashbacks?
The flashbacks of Season 4 weren't always particularly interesting or even understandable, and they took rather a long time to connect to the main events. The Season 5 flashbacks will finally take Oliver on the final leg of his journey that transformed him from poorly-coiffed dummy Ollie into the weaponized Oliver of the pilot.
Oliver is running out of time in the flashbacks, and he needs to head to Russia to learn the language and work his way to the rank of captain in the Russian mob. The foundation for his trip to Russia is already laid thanks to his recently deceased flashback friend Taiana's request that he visit her family there, and Bratva bigwig Anatoly Knyazev had invited Oliver to visit way back in the Season 2 flashbacks. Season 5 will need to take Oliver to Russia, induct him into the Bratva, and give him that Bratva tattoo of his. Anatoly won't be turning Oliver away, but he also won't make it easy on him to earn his place in the Russian mob.
What Crossovers Will Happen in Season 5?
The DC universe on The CW has gotten a lot bigger in 2016. The Winter 2016 premiere of time travel series Legends of Tomorrow that borrowed characters from Arrow and The Flash created a trifecta of superhero series, and the jump of Supergirl from CBS to The CW for Fall 2016 means that there is now the potential for a whole bunch of characters from a whole bunch of shows to cross over. Arrow has had a big annual crossover extravaganza in Seasons 3 and 4 with The Flash; Season 5 will see the big annual crossover involve Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl in one massive unprecedented event.
Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim has revealed that an external threat will drive Supergirl out of her universe and into The Flash, then Arrow, and then finally Legends of Tomorrow. The big crossover will coincide with Arrow's 100th episode, so hopefully we'll get some Arrow-centric fanfare in addition to all of the crossover hijinks. Small character crossovers and cameos outside of the big event will undoubtedly also continue. The wonderful bromance between Oliver Queen and Barry Allen should have plenty more time to flourish.
Who's The New Big Bad?
The supervillain of Season 4 was killed off in the finale, so Damien Darhk and his magic are not going to be the major threat to Oliver and Co. in Season 5. Instead, the Green Arrow will face off against an archer villain known as Prometheus. Although there is a Prometheus villain existing in DC comic lore, Marc Guggenheim has gone on the record as saying that the Arrow Prometheus will be a new character who fits with the theme of Season 5. Prometheus certainly won't be the first villain who also favors a bow, so it should be interesting to see if and how Arrow mixes things up to craft a properly scary new archer archenemy. Prometheus' origin story is evidently tied to Oliver's work as the Emerald Archer over the years so far.
How Will Flashpoint Affect Arrow?
The Season 2 finale of The Flash feature the Scarlet Speedster Barry Allen running back in time to stop his mother's murder and basically screw up the entire timeline for everyone and everything. The plot comes from the Flashpoint comic story that basically reset DC's comic universe, and Barry's actions on The Flash will affect the other DC shows on The CW. Stephen Amell has shared that the Flashpoint effects on Arrow will begin subtle and then grow distinctly less subtle as episodes pass, and David Ramsey revealed that John Diggle and his family will be changed in a very personal way by Barry's interference with the past.